Homemade Ginger Beer/Ale Recipe

Freshly bottled ginger ale --- can I wait two weeks?!
Freshly bottled ginger ale — can I wait two weeks?!

Ginger ale (referred to as ginger beer in the recipe) is probably my favorite fizzy beverage besides soda water, fresh lime and salt.

A couple years ago, I used the same recipe that I used tonight with two different results. The first batch turned out incredible — the best ginger ale I had ever tasted. Naturally carbonated, lots of ginger flavor and just a hint of sweetness. It made incredible cocktails, too.

The second batch I set in a sunnier spot in my kitchen, which turned out to be a horrible idea. Especially (I found out) with green bottles instead of brown. The brown bottles help protect fermented beverages from UV light. The sun “skunked” my second batch of ginger ale, giving it an off flavor that tasted icky.

I only use the green bottles because it is what I have, free of charge from my mom who saved them in Saudi Arabia and kept them until recent years when she passed a few on to me. That’s how the grape juice I drank as a child was packaged. Some still have their original labels in Arabic, which is nifty. My mom had grand plans to make homemade wine but never got around to it because of other projects. (Is that where I get it from?)


Tonight Austin and I made my third attempt at ginger ale/beer using the Sandor Katz recipe from his book Wild Fermentation, which can be found online here.

The only thing I did differently is add lemon zest to the boiling step. I only had 2 inches of ginger to boil, which according to the recipe creates a mild flavor. So, I zested the two lemons also required in the recipe and put the zest in the boiling water for additional flavor.

I’ll tell you how it turned out in two weeks…

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